Cancer has been cured. A remedy for Alzheimer’s disease is available. Climate change has been stopped. And no one on earth suffers from hunger. Many people hope that these scenarios will come true thanks to artificial intelligence (AI). But those who are less optimistic warn about the powers of constant and pervasive surveillance. They are afraid that robots will take over our jobs. And they worry about the evolution of an unjust world in which only wealthy people will benefit from the advantages of digitalization. But who is right?
Who are the realists among us – the optimists or the pessimists? We set out to find an answer to this question and discussed the key issues with people from various walks of life. Is AI really a long-awaited panacea? Is it responsible of us to let programmers and major high-tech firms do just about anything they want? Or do we need to have an ethical framework – a kind of “machine morals” structure – to guide AI research and related activities? Should this be a matter significant to current social discussion?
We conducted a number of interviews with those people who share our concerns about the future – such as musician and entrepreneur will.i.am, Minister of State for Digitalization Dorothee Bär, AI expert and businessman Chris Boos, plus philosopher Susan Schneider.
Our discussions focused on how AI can enlighten the world, much like electricity did more than a century ago (will.i.am). We also imagined how AI could become uncontrollable (Susan Schneider). And we thought about the absurdity of demanding ethics for machines in a world where we don’t even have standard moral norms that apply to all human beings (Chris Boos). Maybe we should even consider having a recognized standard that would generate trust in artificial intelligence – perhaps “AI made in Germany” (Dorothee Bär).
Deutsche Telekom’s Board of Management also contributed ideas and personal views during our discussions.
Read our “AI Special” to find out more, and follow our AI Week initiative on social media – we look forward to your comments and discussions.
One thing is sure: It is up to us to shape the future.
Enjoy reading this issue!